March 2017
Howle's Hints

Tough Decisions

"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an
unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." ~ Harry S. Truman

He may have only been 5 feet 8 inches tall, but Harry Truman certainly did big things. He had courage and determination to do the job at hand. He was Franklin Roosevelt’s vice president, but he unexpectedly took the helm of the presidency after Roosevelt’s death during the last months of World War II. After giving the go ahead for the dropping of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Truman showed that he was willing to make the tough calls necessary to ultimately save thousands of American lives. Truman served as president from 1945-1953, and his toughest decision resulted in the forced surrender of the Japanese, effectively ending World War II.

One of the early jobs held by Truman before he went into politics was farming. Hailing from Missouri, he was always known as a plain-spoken guy who called things as he saw them. He served in World War I as an artillery commander.

As he entered politics as a county judge and, campaigning vigorously wherever he went, continued to the senate, he would often bring up his war record.

As FDR’s vice president, Truman was pretty much kept in the dark about matters concerning the workings of WWII. After FDR died, Truman quickly schooled himself about the wars in Europe and Asia and the secretive Manhattan Project, the program centered around the design of the A-bomb. In the 1948 presidential election, Thomas Dewey was expected to win, and the Chicago Daily Tribune erroneously ran the front-page headline, "Dewey Defeats Truman." Once Truman won, he famously held that newspaper containing the mistaken headlines for all the media to see.


March Warmup

As you feed the cattle or set out on early season turkey hunts, the weather can continue to be quite chilly. One of the greatest inventions, in my opinion, is the body warmers with an adhesive backing. These Hot Hands products have a peel-off sticky back that allows you to attach the body warmer to the center of your back under your coat. This product claims to provide 12 hours of heat, but, typically, you’ll only need it in the cold, early morning hours. Not only does the product put off plenty of heat during the cold weather, the heat on your back just makes you feel good.


Stealthy Stalking


If the tom you are calling is gobbling, use his gobbles to pinpoint his location and close the distance; especially if you have hilly terrain working in your favor.


This March presents the beginning of turkey season in Alabama. One great thing about gobblers is they will often gobble. If you have a tom willing to set off an occasional gobble, use this opportunity to get a little closer to the bird. If you hear a gobbler in the distance, close the distance as much as possible without spooking the bird; especially if hilly terrain can be used in your favor. Every time you hear a gobble, get a little closer if you can do it without being seen. If possible, set up your location at the same elevation or higher than the bird. Once you are in position, sit completely still and only call to him softly and seldom so he will close the distance.


Turkey Temptations

I remember when I first started hunting turkeys on our family farm. Some of the early seasons would go by and I would be lucky if I heard one gobbler. We worked hard to control coyote populations, and we would often avoid the temptation to take a tom if he appeared to be the only one on the farm. This past fall and winter, I counted one flock numbering close to 30 birds. With proper predator control, it is a satisfying feeling to see young flocks of poults turn into mature flocks of hens and gobblers. If you are just beginning to manage turkeys on your property, avoid the temptations for a one-time harvest if you want to build flock numbers.


Spring Spray

Spraying thistle in the rosette stage allows for a better kill, and the bolt hasn’t sprung up with the seedhead on it.


This March brings plenty of early spring grass growth to the pastures. Unfortunately, it also brings plenty of weed growth. Various species of thistle also thrive this time of year. If you want to get a head start on weed control, ride around the pastures with a hand-held spray tank or ATV sprayer, and spot spray the early growth of thistle before it hits the bolt stage. While the weed is in the rosette stage, applications of herbicide are more effective, especially when the weed is actively growing because of spring rains.


Each of us faces tough decisions in our lives. Hopefully, none of us will face a decision with such gravity as Truman when he decided to give the green light for dropping the A-bomb on Japan. Years of debate followed that decision on whether the morality was right or wrong. No doubt, hundreds of thousands of Japanese died, but many of the generals who served in the Pacific Theater during World War II agreed that possibly millions of American lives were saved by not continuing the war. This March, make your decisions based on courage, imagination and determination.


John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.